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Arkansas Rice Update 3-30-18
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Drs. Jarrod Hardke, Gus Lorenz, Tom Barber, & Yeshi Wamishe

March 30, 2018  No. 2018-05      

Crop Progress

It looks like recently planted rice is going to need a snorkel for the next week.  Several inches of rain this week across the entire Arkansas Delta with more in the forecast for next week does not bode well for early planting progress.  In the past two years, we have been fortunate to plant a lot of rice very early.  However, this is not always a great indicator for overall state yields.

We planted record early in 2012 and yields were great.  We planted later in 2013, 2014, and 2017 and they were great.  In 2010 and 2016 we planted early and they weren’t great.  As the Zen master said, “we’ll see.”

The black line in Fig. 1 shows our current minimal progress in 2018 compared to recent years.  We’re still in line with or ahead of 2007-2010, a range of years that carried a mixed bag of overall results.  In 2007, we made a then record yield, but 2008-2010 saw a regression back to previous year averages before saw additional yield gains in 2012-2014.

What does it all mean?  Who knows!  We have proven in many years that we can plant the majority of the crop in two weeks if a window opens.  So from here we’ll see when those windows open – the earlier the better.

Fig. 1.  AR Rice Planting Progress 2007-2018.

Fig. 2.  AR state average rice yield (bu/acre), 1998-2017.

* Star indicates record yield.


Seed Treatment Misinformation

There seems to be a great deal of misinformation being floated around about seed treatments on rice these days.  This has been in reference to both insecticides and fungicides.

First, for the insecticide seed treatments.  The rates of thiamethoxam in CruiserMaxx and clothianidin in NipsIt INSIDE have been tested for years by the Division of Agriculture and we consider them to be equal in the level of insect protection and yield potential that they provide.  Again, they have been tested head-to-head in many trials and they come out the same.

Second, for the fungicide seed treatments.  The fungicide package in CruiserMaxx contains mefenoxam, fludioxonil, and azoxystrobin.  The fungicide package in NipsIt SUITE includes metalaxyl and fludioxonil.

CruiserMaxx and NipsIt packages have similar rates of mefenoxam/metalaxyl; NipsIt has a higher rate of fludioxonil than CruiserMaxx; and CruiserMaxx has the added azoxystrobin.

So, the fungicide packages differ slightly between the two programs but both carry products for protection against Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and general seed rots.  At the end of the day, either of the packages has you covered with fungicides.  None of these packages use the maximum labeled rates of any of the fungicides.

Another thing to keep in mind with talk out there of over-treating RiceTec hybrid seed that already has the NipsIt SUITE package on it – once you open the bag you have voided the warranty and seed return will not be an option.  As stated in previous writings, we do not have data to support putting CruiserMaxx on top of seed already treated with NipsIt Suite.


Prospective Plantings Report

Yesterday the USDA-NASS report for 2018 was released.  Their prediction for Arkansas rice acres is 1,331,000 total acres – of that 1,150,000 long grain and 180,000 medium grain.  As usual, there is a lot to digest from the report.

Most have noticed by now the jump in soybean prices and many additional bushels have been booked as a result.  So, are we booking more beans that we were already going to plant, or are we going to book more beans and plant more to cover?  These are the questions to ponder.

Just looking at the report for Arkansas rice (Table 1), the long-grain acreage was close to my expectation.  However, the medium grain acreage number looks too low as I feel we’re targeting 225,000 acres there.  Toss in a few more long grain acres and we’re still targeting 1.4 million total acres.  Acreage across other rice-producing states was not too much of an overall surprise (Table 2).  Increases were expected in LA, MS, and MO.

Table 1.  Arkansas rice acreage, USDA-NASS Prospective Plantings 2018.

Table 2.  All states rice acreage, USDA-NASS Prospective Plantings 2018.

Table 3 shows the expected acreage across major field crops in Arkansas.  This creates an interesting narrative in itself as all crops are expected to make gains (except peanuts).  Arkansas had over 400,000 acres of prevented planting in 2017 across crops.  This will easily accommodate the 300,000 acre total crop increase projected, but in theory something will have to give – either a crop or the weather, or a crop due to the weather!

Table 3.  Arkansas crop acreage, USDA-NASS Prospective Plantings 2018.

Pre-emergence Herbicides on Cut Ground

It’s always good to remember that we need to be careful with our herbicide selection on recently cut soils.  These field conditions frequently leave us open to greater herbicide injury potential.

The first, best, recommendation we can make is to grow Clearfield rice in these situations.  The ability to use Newpath and Beyond herbicides that these cultivars are fully tolerant to greatly reduces the risk for herbicide injury.

Command herbicide should NOT be used on recently leveled fields.  It is also best to avoid Facet, though after rice is emerged and otherwise seems to be growing healthy it could be considered for a preflood herbicide application.  Prowl is a good option as a delayed pre-emergence herbicide with little risk of injury.  Bolero can be used later but should be avoided at the delayed pre-emergence timing.

For post-emergence herbicides, it’s best to avoid those that are normally injurious if the rice is already not healthy due to field leveling.  These include propanil and Sharpen.

There are two different angles to take with deciding whether to grow a hybrid or a variety in these situations.  On one hand, hybrids are better at dealing with these types of stressful growing conditions.  On the other hand, input cost risk is lower when selecting a variety.  Ultimately the level of acceptable risk is up to the individual grower.



Additional Information

Arkansas Rice Updates are published periodically to provide timely information and recommendations for rice production in Arkansas.  If you would like to be added to this email list, please send your request to

This information will also be posted to the Arkansas Row Crops blog ( where additional information from Extension specialists can be found.

More information on rice production, including access to all publications and reports, can be found at


We sincerely appreciate the support for this publication provided by the rice farmers of Arkansas and administered by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board.

The authors greatly appreciate the feedback and contributions of all growers, county agents, consultants, and rice industry stakeholders.

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